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Moving on up: MSU 19th in USA Today, 21st in AP poll

September 23, 2012

MSU defensive backs Johnthan Banks (13) and Darius Slay (9) celebrate during Saturday night's 30-10 win over South Alabama. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

There are a few college football teams across the nation that can claim to be undefeated at this point of the season.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are one of those.

After Saturday night's 30-10 victory over South Alabama, MSU stands 4-0 for the first time since 1999 and moved up in both polls on Sunday.

The Bulldogs jumped up four spots to 19th in USA Today Coaches poll and improved to No. 21 in The Associated Press poll. MSU was 23rd in both polls last week.

Although the Bulldogs have some issues to address on both sides of the football that need addressing, head coach Dan Mullen said it feels pretty good being undefeated right now while making those adjustments.

"We're going to leave the month of September 4-0, which will put us in a position we want to be in and that's compete for championships," Mullen said. "I wasn't real happy with our overall performance (against South Alabama), but 50 percent of the people in the country are very sad right now, and we get to be happy."

MSU has put up some impressive numbers in the first four games.

Offensively, the Bulldogs have scored 144 points through four games, which is the highest point total during that same span since the 1944 squad collected 159 points in its first four games.

Mississippi State has allowed 53 points through first four games on defense. That is the fewest since 1999 and fifth lowest total dating back to 1980.

The Bulldogs had to get a good defensive effort in the first quarter against the Jaguars, because of the offensive struggles. MSU only had one first down and 27 total yards in the first quarter.

Mullen didn't always like what he saw from the Bulldogs on the field, but the players haven't seen him buckle under pressure.

"Coach is always poised," MSU defensive back Johnthan Banks said. "He may have been embarrassed at half, but he is always poised when he talks to us. He comes in there and speaks the truth. That is what I like and respect about him."

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